Philanthropy’s Arc Of Innovation

Innovation has been a byword of the world for the past two centuries. Entities that have been in step with rapid innovation have usually been able to survive, and even flourish. No matter how much demagogues of any stripe might call for a return to past centuries, continued rapid innovation across many walks of life will make such retrogression impossible.

The nonprofit sector has been no exception. It is necessary to be informed, flexible and ready to act. People still want to give, but the ways by which they do so have changed and will continue to change.

During the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) Not-For-Profit Industry Conference, Susan Raymond of Changing Our World Inc. outlined the Arc of Innovation in Philanthropy that has come to characterize and drive the sector.
Raymond outlined the arc as a rising one, with the latest items gaining stature:

* Traditional resource transfers — charitable grants;
* Traditional philanthropic resources at efficiency and scale — collaboratives, interactive hubs, multiple-funder partnerships;
* Traditional philanthropic resources demanding market-like results — venture philanthropy;
* Philanthropic resources moving in new ways onto the social commons – program related investments (PRIs), micro-finance pools, embedded transfers; and,
* Entirely new kinds of resources moving onto the societal commons — social stock exchanges, impact investing, mission related investments (MRIs), equity-like flows, bond-like flows, social business, blended investments.